Time flies when you’re having fun. The year that is 2017 is already halfway done, and what a year it’s been. Not least in terms of digital marketing.
Like a piece of Play-Doh in a kindergarten, online marketing is forever morphing and changing. Over the course of a few short years, it can become almost unrecognisable from what it once was. Thus any business owner, whether they run a multinational or a family restaurant, needs to remain firmly on their toes, Swan Lake style, in order to maximise the impact of their marketing efforts.
So what is the pragmatic, adaptable and innovative business owner of 2017 doing when it comes to online marketing? Here are four online marketing trends that those who are looking to get ahead would be wise not to ignore.
1) AR and VR
It’s amazing what throwing imaginary balls at imaginary animals has done for the marketing world. Not until Pokémon Go burst onto the scene in 2016 was the potential of Alternate Reality and Virtual Reality truly understood by marketers and business owners alike. But ever since the launch, both parties have been scrambling to capitalise on the almost limitless opportunities the medium seems to afford.
A few of the best recent campaigns are outlined in this YouTube clip, but highlights include architects giving their clients virtual reality tours of as yet unbuilt buildings, and print media turning the very 2D pages of their magazines into 3D worlds which readers can explore through their smartphones.
2) Live Video
Cisco has predicted that by 2020, 80% of internet traffic will be in the form of video. Facebook and other social media platforms have realised this, and have invested heavily in live video feed functions. Facebook Live, as an example, has been growing by 94% year-on-year in the US.
You’ll notice that Facebook sends out a notification to all of your friends/followers whenever you go live. This is invaluable for businesses, as it all but guarantees engagement on a platform that is becoming ever more difficult to succeed on without monetary investment. Live video allows you to reach the greatest amount of eyes for the most minor – or non-existent – amount of cash.
3) Temporary Content
Why would an organisation invest in content with a self-destruct button? It seems incredibly counter-intuitive, but the temporary content made famous by the likes of Snapchat is very much in vogue. Social users, particularly those who are young, are moving away from the foreverness of the likes of Facebook in favour of social media that is far more disposable.
Facebook themselves have unashamedly copied Snapchat and Instagram in the hope of jumping aboard the temporary content gravy train, with Facebook Stories expiring after 24 hours. This style of online marketing plays on a consumer’s fear of missing out. An urgency is added to catching a brand’s video before it expires.
We’ve known for a while that you get far more engagement from a post with an image than you do without, but with social platforms currently offering a wealth of interactivity options, you can now go one better.
Use the Facebook polling function to survey your followers, either on something that is important to your business, or something fun that will encourage maximum engagement. Use the Facebook ‘react’ emojis to do the same. Throw a ‘caption this image’ out into the ether, to encourage your creative followers to show off their wit. There are a wealth of options to go interactive with your social marketing – that is, after all, what social is all about.
Online marketing is changing as much in 2017 as ever, but as it has for time immemorial, it continues to favour those who are brave enough to try new things; to identify fresh trends, and boldly dive in.
So come on down, digital marketers – the water’s fine.